Australia needs 6.5 million more digital workers by 2025

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently released findings from a new research report, estimating that the number of workers in Australia requiring digital skills will need to increase by 79 per cent from today’s levels.

This translates to an additional 6.5 million newly skilled and reskilled digital workers, on top of the existing workforce, required by 2025. The study also found that 43 per cent of Australia’s digital workers, who are not applying cloud computing skills today, believe it will be a requirement to perform their jobs by 2025.

By providing products and services, supporting the development of new technology, and generating local employment, the technology sector currently contributes about $122 billion to the Australian economy, which is about 6.6 per cent of the country’s GDP. The contribution is expected to grow to about $207 billion per year by 2030 with the right policy settings and digital skills training.

The ‘Unlocking APAC’s Digital Potential: Changing Digital Skill Needs and Policy Approaches’ report predicts that the average Australian worker will need to develop seven new digital skills within the next five years to keep pace with technology advancements and demand.

Dr. Fraser Thompson, managing director of AlphaBeta, which prepared the study, noted that Australia’s economy has been battered by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A plan to build back better from the pandemic will need to have digital skills development at the core,” he iterates.

“Our research shows that business-as-usual approaches to digital skill development won’t get us there. A digital worker in Australia today has about 6.5 digital skills on average, but all workers―digital or not―will need to gain an additional seven skills to keep pace with technological change by 2025.

“We also need to go beyond just upgrading existing digital workers―the majority of new skill requirements will be with new job seekers, those involuntarily excluded from the workforce and workers who do not use digital skills in their jobs today. The challenge is huge, but the payoff would be tremendous in terms of stronger economic growth, higher incomes, and a more equitable and resilient economy.”

Technology is redefining the Australian workforce and the skills needed to remain competitive, adds Iain Rouse, director and country leader, Australia and New Zealand, worldwide public sector, AWS.

“Advances in cloud computing, machine learning and other emerging technologies have created an exponential pace of change, which has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, in many industries across Australia.

“However, a significant barrier is finding the skilled workers that can make these plans a reality. AWS is committed to providing skills training to help Australians advance their careers and open up a variety of career paths, even for individuals with little-to-no previous tech knowledge. Now more than ever, Australians have an opportunity to embrace learning new digital skills to improve their employability, drive innovation, and contribute to our economic productivity.”